Rules of the British Society for Immunology (the “Rules”)
The British Society for Immunology’s (the Society) governing instrument is its Articles of Association (the Articles).
- The Society shall consist of the following classes of members: ‘Full Members’, ‘Postgraduate Members’, ‘Early Careers Members’, ‘Concessionary Members’ (together the “Paying Members”), ‘Honorary Members’, ‘Undergraduate Members’ and ‘Overseas Members’. Individuals of distinction in Immunology and related fields shall be eligible for selection as Honorary Members by the board of Trustees. Acceptance to all classes of membership shall be at the discretion of the Society’s board of trustees.
- The Paying Members of the Society and the Honorary Members shall together constitute the Company Law Members of the Society and, provided at all times it is in accordance with the Society’s Articles of Association, may attend and vote at the AGM and vote in trustee and Forum elections.
- The ‘Undergraduate Members’ and ‘Overseas Members’ shall be associate members in accordance with the Society’s Articles of Association.
- The trustees of the Society are appointed in accordance with the Articles and shall number no fewer than ten and no more than fourteen.
- Ten of the trustees are appointed by the Company Law Members of the Society. They will include the President, the Treasurer, the Clinical Secretary (the Officers) and six Company Law Members of the Society, all of whom shall be elected to serve as trustees by the Company Law Members of the Society (together these are the Elected Trustees). Of the six Elected Trustees who are not Officers of the Society, two shall be Early Years Trustees. The Chair of the Forum shall also be a trustee, ex officio, who shall also be elected by the Company Law Members of the Society. An elected trustee may be selected by the board of trustees to act as vice-President (deputy). This is not a President-elect role.
- Up to six additional trustees, who need not be members of the Society, or have expertise in immunology, but who may have specialist expertise in areas such as finance or governance, may be co-opted by the trustees at the trustees' discretion.
- The business of the Society shall be conducted by the trustees, who oversee all strategic matters. In any matters concerning interpretation of these Rules, the decision shall rest with the trustees, who will decide any matters concerning the Society which are not covered by these Rules.
- Separate to the board of trustees, the Company Law Members of the Society will elect four ‘Secretaries’. These Secretary roles are: Public Engagement Secretary, Education Secretary, Groups & Meetings Secretary and Congress Secretary. These roles are elected by the Company Law Members from amongst the Company Law Members, and have defined areas of responsibility. They will attend one trustee board meeting a year in an advisory role, and will work closely with the Society’s staff team on their particular areas of work. The Secretaries are not trustees or company law secretaries and do not have the powers of the Society’s trustees or secretary under company law or the Articles. They have no legal obligation for the Society, nor do they have the power to make budgetary decisions, without approval from the board of Trustees.
- The Congress Secretary and Groups & Meetings Secretary be asked to chair relevant committees as required (e.g. Congress Committee or Groups & Meetings Committee). The Public Engagement and Education Secretaries will be part of the Society’s Forum outlined below. Secretaries shall serve a single term of four years and upon the expiry of this term may not stand again for election as a Secretary until one year has elapsed since their retirement from office.
- All Company Law Members of the Society are entitled to stand in a Secretary election, including serving trustees. However, holding dual trustee and Secretary roles is not recommended due to potential conflicts of interest and workload.
- There shall be a representative body, called the Forum, which is a sounding board for discussion of policy, communications, public engagement and education & careers. It is advisory, and makes recommendations to the Board.
- The Forum shall consist of:
- One regional representative – Scotland;
- One regional representative – England;
- One regional representative – Wales;
- One regional representative – Northern Ireland;
- Up to three Early Career representatives;
- Two clinical representatives
- One veterinary representative
- One industry representative
- One Policy Representative; and
- Two PhD representatives.
g. Representatives of other societies or sectors and other individuals as may be determined and co-opted by the Forum from time to time. Each such member shall serve on the Forum for a maximum of four years.
- The term of office for the Chair of the Forum shall be four years. He or she may stand for re-election but may serve no more than two consecutive terms. If he or she has served two consecutive terms of office as Chair of the Forum, he or she may not stand again for election as a member of the Forum until two years have elapsed from the date of his or her retirement from office. Once elected, the Chair of the Forum shall automatically serve as a trustee of the Society ex officio. For the avoidance of doubt, the Chair of the Forum’s term of office shall not include any period for which he or she is appointed as acting Chair of the Forum under Rule 16 or for which he or she remains in post under Rule 25.
- Elected Forum Members shall serve on the Forum for a single term of four years. He or she may not stand for re-election as a member of the Forum until two years have elapsed from the date of his or her retirement from office. For the avoidance of doubt, an Elected Forum Member’s term of office shall not include any period for which he or she is co-opted to fill a vacancy among the Elected Forum Members under Rule 15, or is appointed as acting Chair of the Forum under Rule 16, or for which he or she remains in post under Rule 25.
- In the event of a vacancy arising among the Elected Forum Members, the Forum shall have the power to co-opt a person to fill such vacancy. Any person so co-opted must be a Company Law Member. A co-opted member of the Forum shall remain in office until the end of the calendar year or the election of a new Elected Forum Member to the vacant post by the Company Law Members, whichever is earlier.
- In the event that the Chair of the Forum role is vacant, or if the Trustees exercise their discretion under Rule 24 with regard to any absence of the elected Chair of the Forum, the Forum shall appoint one of their number as acting Chair of the Forum. Where an acting Chair of the Forum is appointed to fill a vacancy, he or she shall remain in office until the end of the calendar year or the election of a new Chair of the Forum by the Company Law Members, whichever is earlier. Where an acting Chair of the Forum is appointed in this way because the elected Chair of the Forum is absent pursuant to Rule 24, he or she shall remain in office until the elected Chair of the Forum returns.
- The quorum of any Forum meeting shall be ten. Any decision by the Forum shall be by decision of a majority of the members of the Forum present and voting at a quorate Forum meeting.
Vacancies and Elections
- If there is a vacancy among the Elected Trustees, the Secretaries, the Chair of the Forum or Elected Forum Members the Society shall advertise such vacancy to the Company Law Members of the Society.
- A candidate to be appointed or reappointed as an Elected Trustee, a Secretary, the Chair of the Forum or an Elected Forum Member, including regional group members, must be a Company Law Member.
- A candidate for election to any Officer role, Secretary role, Chair of the Forum or as an Elected Forum Member, including regional group members, must be resident in the United Kingdom. Nominees for Elected Trustees who are not Officers need not be resident in the United Kingdom.
- A candidate for election to either of the two Early Career Trustee posts must be:
- A candidate to be appointed or reappointed as an Elected Trustee, a Secretary, the Chair of the Forum or as an Elected Forum Member, including regional group members, must nominated. The nomination must be made in writing and reach the President by the deadline stipulated in the notice advertising the vacancy. Each such nomination must be accompanied by a written intimation from the nominee that he or she is willing to serve as a trustee or member of the Forum (as appropriate) if appointed, and include confirmation of the support of at least two Company Law Members for the nominee’s appointment or reappointment as an Elected Trustee, Secretary or the Chair of the Forum or an Elected Forum Member.
- No serving Elected Trustee shall be permitted to nominate candidates to any vacancy.
- If there are more nominees for election than vacancies among the Elected Trustees, elected Secretaries, Elected Forum Members or for the role of the Chair of the Forum, elections will be held by ballot (which, for the avoidance of doubt, may be carried out by electronic means) with the full breakdown of results to be announced by the Society as soon as practicable thereafter. Every Company Law Member of the Society shall be entitled to vote in a ballot and for this purpose papers shall be sent by the Society to each such member. On ballot, each Company Law Member shall not be entitled to cast more than one vote for any candidate, and shall only be entitled to such number of votes as shall be equal to the maximum number of trustees or members of the Forum (as appropriate) that may be elected or re-elected in the election.
- In the event that a post comes up for election among the elected Secretaries, Elected Forum Members or for the role of the Chair of the Forum and no candidate is nominated and appointed, and the holder of the post is willing to continue, the trustees may at their sole discretion agree to temporarily extend the term of office of the post holder for up to 12 months or until a replacement candidate can be identified and appointed.
- In the event that a post comes up for election among the Elected Trustees and no candidate is nominated and appointed, the trustees shall co-opt a person to fill the vacancy in accordance with the Articles of the Society.
- In the event that an Elected Trustee, a Secretary, an Elected Forum Member or the Chair of the Forum must take a period of extended leave (such as parental leave or sickness), the trustees shall, at their discretion, resolve that he or she shall remain in post and they shall retain access to committee papers. Where the trustees exercise their discretion under this rule, the rules regarding meeting attendance (as provided in the relevant committee’s Terms of Reference) shall be relaxed in relation to the absent committee member, but the absent committee member would be expected to advise the Board of the likely timescales for their return to post.
- In addition to the board of trustees and the Forum, the Society shall also have committees which may include, but are not limited to: the Congress Committee, the Clinical Committee, the Patient Advisory Panel, Journals Committee, in addition to any sub-committees of the board of trustees, for example, relating to finance and governance.
- Paying Members shall pay on request by the Society each year the appropriate annual subscription. Such members will receive in advance a reminder subscription notice which should be completed and returned to the Society with the appropriate remittance. Paying Members may choose to pay by direct debit or other form of continuous payment in which case a reminder notice will be sent to them advising that payment will shortly be collected. Paying Members granted a reduced subscription shall abide by the same rules, and will only be granted concessionary subscription upon receipt of a satisfactorily signed and completed concessionary certificate.
- Paying Members who have not paid their subscription or other sum payable within three months after the due date shall automatically cease to be a Company Law Member of the Society. The trustees may re-admit as a Company Law Member any person who ceases to be a member on this ground on such person paying such reasonable sum as the trustees may determine.
- For the avoidance of doubt, any future political devolution in the United Kingdom will not affect the membership criteria prescribed by the trustees of the Society from time to time under Article 28.3.
- The proceedings of meetings of the Forum, the board of trustees and committees may only be communicated to the press or media with the consent of the trustees.
- Immunology and Clinical and Experimental Immunology are the official journals of the Society and any person may receive these on payment of the appropriate subscription. On-line versions may be made available to members as part of the benefits of membership. The editorial policy of each journal shall be in the hands of an editorial board which shall comprise the editor-in- chief and associate editors.
- The Society is committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity and aims, in addition, to ensure that the board of trustees, the Forum and the committees are, so far as possible, representative of the membership.
- Any changes to these Rules, as opposed to the Articles of Association, may only be made by decision of the trustees.
Updated: July 2021